Hardwick mother sentenced to 4 years for death of disabled son

By  | 

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) A Hardwick mother convicted of putting alcohol in her disabled son's feeding tube will serve four years in prison.

It was a packed courtroom filled with emotional family members who were not satisfied with the judge's sentence. "The swath of destruction that this woman has laid behind her is wide and deep," said David Robitille, Isaac Robitille's uncle.

The painful heartache remains fresh for the Robitille family, after the death of 13-year-old Isaac. "He was a very smart, strong young man that adapted to all of his imperfections. He knew and could tell everyone that touched him by a sign that they gave him," said Lottie Allen, Isaac's former foster mother.

Isaac was disabled and needed a feeding tube to survive. And prosecutors say when Isaac had a bad night in August 2014, his mother Melissa Robitille and her boyfriend dumped vodka in the tube to keep him quiet. The boy died soon after from alcohol poisoning.

"I crave the court's mercy and compassion. And I hope the court will keep in mind that I'm already bearing the punishment which will never end," Melissa Robitille told the judge.

While on trial for manslaughter, prosecutors argued it was Robitille who administered the fatal dose to her son. And at sentencing, her own family members painted the picture of a mother who abused and neglected her other children before losing custody.

The state asked for a minimum 10 year sentence. Robitille's defense lawyer, Rob Sussman, wanted three. "This is not a malicious offense. This is not a reckless indifference to human safety offense. This was a tragic mistake," Sussman said.

In the end, Judge Thomas Zonay said the court believes Robitille is remorseful in her son's death, sentencing her to a minimum of four years in state prison.

"It's not fair. I don't think it's fair. I think 4 to 12 years is not enough for what she has done," Sharon Robitille said.

Robitille's boyfriend, Walter Richters, was also convicted in the manslaughter death. He's already serving out a three-year sentence in state prison.